[Boston Underground Film Festival] Short Films: Trigger Warning (Midnight Program) - Reviewed

Trigger Warning is a collection of narrative shorts that were screened as part of the midnight program at the Boston Underground Film Festival.

The Boston Underground Film Festival's midnight program continues to deliver some of the most disturbing and messed up pieces of cinema from around the globe. There's a reason why these films can only be shown at midnight, this is some of the most fucked up stuff that you will see anytime soon. Featuring an assortment of violence, sexual situations, and potentially offensive material, these filmmakers look to destroy your cinematic brain.

The Consequence - Finland – Directed by Chrzu Lindström  – Equal parts John Waters and the TV series Dragula, this mockumentary follows the actress Carlotta Moore (who we need to see more of) as her life spirals out of control after the success of her film The Contract. It's chock full of excessive violence, male nudity, sexual acts, and some potentially offensive religious and racial references. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll shudder. It's the perfect short film for a first date. 

Babs – UK – Directed by Celine Held & Logan George – A son discovers an unusual purchase that his father made before he died in this touching take on Lars and the Real Girl. It features nice editing, good camerawork, and a fine performance from co-writer/co-director Logan George.

Mother– UK – Directed by Lee Charlish - Part animation and live-action are combined into a mashup of something that you might expect to find airing on Adult Swim, examining a woman's desire to have a child. Even the most disturbing and disgusting abominations still deserve a mother's love.

The Itch – USA – Directed by Timothy Ryan Driscoll – Body horror is brought to the realm of comedy, as a man goes to rather extreme lengths to relive the itch of a bug bite. It's bloody and gross, with a jazz score the lightens up the mood and adds to the darkly comedic situation.

Hell of a Day – Australia – Directed by Evan Hughes – Typical zombie fare that features terrific lighting and shadows, great special effects and makeup, and just a nice overall look to the film. Set in a post-apocalyptic zombie world, a girl gets trapped in a basement while seeking out medical treatment. A person can go mad when confined in a small space for many days with no escape being possible. 

Seppukuckoo – USA – Directed by Josh Wolk – This silent black & white film shows a samurai committing seppuku. What we witness feels stunningly real and authentic, like it was old found footage recently unearthed.

Happy Birthday, Brenda – USA – Directed by Rory Douglas Abel – What begins as an innocent found footage video documenting a husband surprising his wife with a birthday gift, slowly turns into something reminiscent of Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer. The couple's relationship is tested when Brenda's husband plays with her gift. Cristina Rambaldi is compelling as Brenda, a character that we need to see more of.

Cruel is the Night – Belgium – Directed by Alan Deprez – This one has it all, everything that makes you fall in love with cinema. There's excessive violence, gore, unsimulated orgy scenes, an outstanding score that ramps up tension, fine camera angles and crisp editing. A group of anarchists look to kill a politician, only to discover that they've unexpectedly walked in on an orgy. Director Alan Deprez showcases his desire to push the limits of cinematic boundaries and we need more work from this brilliant filmmaker.

Queen Kong – Italy – Directed by Monica Stambrini – A party tryst doesn't go as planned until Queen Kong steps in. There isn't much that can be said about this, other than WTF am I watching. This film is the perfect finale to this midnight block of short films, as we witness unsimulated and outrageous ghoul sex. It's both erotic and insanely gross.